Why Lobster Durian Might Be The Next Superstar
There are obviously more fans of seafood than there are for durians.
And it’s no secret that lobster is one of the most favoured crustaceans desired by seafood lovers. The premium price itself tells the whole story.
There are many people who love both lobster and durian.
If you are one of them, what if I tell you that there is a durian that comes with the taste of lobster?
You would probably say that I’m crazy. And you are right.
Lobster durian has nothing to do with it tasting like what it sounds. However, I also can’t write off how lobsters fed with only durians would taste like.
And unlike centipede, it did not adopt this name due to lobsters frequently found congregating under the mother tree or climbing all over it. That would have been a rather fascinating sight nevertheless.
Lobster durian got it’s name from the appearance of it’s fleshy pulps looking like fat giant prawns. So just like kunyit and red prawn, two durians that probably needs no introduction, it’s name is a reflection of how the lobes of fruitlets look like when it is opened.
The mandarin name is long xia (龙虾) and leng hae in hokkien.
And like a bolt out of the blue, it then made a name for itself by winning first prize for the Penang durian competition back in 2011.
If you don’t already know, becoming champion in such competitions don’t just mean good marketing and exposure for the specific cultivar, it also means that other farmers might start planting saplings of the tree on their farmland.
Having other farmers dedicate their valuable acres of land to planting your champion fruit trees don’t just mean that you’d be making quite a revenue from selling your saplings. It also means more exposure to the cultivar in future when the supply starts flooding the market. And when that happens, guess where would all the best fruits of the variant come from? The original winner.
So the implication of this winning in 2011 is that there is still a low supply of lobster durian from old trees since mass planting would, or might, have started in 2011.
This is even when the owner claimed that he has about 100 trees that were about 10 years old in 2011. The farm is in the Titi Teras area of Balik Pulau.
The result is that even today, even as a champion durian that many would want to try, this cultivar is very rare to come by.
Most people procure them by making reservations with farms or sellers with a lot of leverage in their networks. And even so, the wait can be 1 whole year or more.
Yup. Even Penang locals might not be able to easily find this durian.
Features of lobster durian
This particular cultivar is a big sized durian regularly going above 3kg. Usually in a roundish oval shape very much like a watermelon. Contours of the bulging lobes can sometimes give it’s shape a rather irregular appearance like big bun.
The stem is of average length but the girth is noticeably thicker than average durian. As the current cluster of trees grow older, we might see the stem get slimmer.
A yellow-green coloured husk protects the yellow lobster inside like a protective shell.
It’s thorns are small but long and sharp. Rather uniform on the whole fruit other than the top rim and bottom which is expected. It can look like a spiky puffer fish that has inflated itself.
The rim where the thorns meet the stem has small spikes that are curved in toward the direction of the stem. While the bottom also has small spikes curving towards the central point where the seams meet.
I have to say. The appearance of this cultivar can often look like it jumped right out of a colouring book.
As you open it, you’d see thick fat lobes of fruitlets like D18 with a soft orangy yellow that mirrors a young IOI. The fruitlets are usually a little arranged in a blocky manner lined up like 604. But a little curved to shape like a prawn like D13.
If you picture the image of a fat lobster on your dinner plate, you should be able to see the uncanny resemblance… minus the claws of course.
If we just look at the fruitlets of opened durian, one might think that this is just a very big D175. But just look at the thorns and husk characteristics and you should be able to see that D175 and lobster are not the same cultivars.
Unlike many types of durians where connoisseurs express as bitterness after sweetness (先甜後苦), the taste of lobster is often expressed as the opposite being sweetness after bitterness (先苦後甜). You should also be able to identify a floral aroma released by the creamy flesh as you slush it around and about in your mouth.
It is expected that those who loves bitter durian are going to love lobster.
From a marketing perspective, lobster durian checks a lot of the boxes required to become a bonafide superstar in the durian realm.
It has aesthetically beautiful flesh matched with a pretty cool name, a well-rounded appearance of the husk, a good imposing size that is not too big or small, even it’s spikes are oddly pleasing to look at. And the bitterness has as much depth as what made capri famous. Let’s not forget that it has a title of champion under it’s belt too. This is a marketer’s dream durian.
But it has one drawback that many might find as a turnoff. And it could be a big reason why mass consumers have yet to catch wind of this one.
The drawback is that this durian has rather large seeds. So even though the fruitlets can look really meaty on the surface, you might be a little disappointed when you bite into it and feel your teeth meeting the seed.
Maybe as the trees get older, the seeds will get smaller.
Another factor that negatively affects the flesh yield is that the husk is as reinforced as tupai 226.
At the same time, consider that when a durian lover needs a fix, when has there ever been a time when a low yield has stopped him from buying? He would just buy more. D24 lovers would implicitly understand this.
Lobster durian harvest season
Lobster is a mid-season durian. If the harvest miraculously exceeds reservations, then it should get on the open market by the month of June.
With that said, the supply is rather low as it’s a low harvest yield tree. You’d have to really be having a lucky day to chance upon it at a durian stall in Penang.
If you indeed do, it’s probably left behind by reservations that failed to collect. Or those that somehow did not meet a satisfactory quality to send to reservation orders.
And if you have been chasing this for multiple seasons, the experience of finally landing one might taste even more delightful than the rarest of seafood.